The zipper is an everyday item that most people don't think twice about, although this mechanism does have a somewhat complicated beginning. Called by a number of different names, the idea of the zipper has actually been around since sewing machines were first invented; however, it was not recognized for quite a while. Zippers are now essential accessories for anyone making garments using Juki sewing machines such as the Juki DX7. Useful as more th an a fabric closure for garments, the zipper has become a valuable item that has made its way into all parts of life.

Names and Designs of The Early Zipper

The original concept that eventually became the zipper was an idea conceived by inventor Elias Howe, the man who received the first patent for lock stitch sewing machines. His design, which he called the automatic, continuous clothing closure, involved a series of clasps that were manually affixed so that a drawstring could be tightened, closing off the fabric. This was quite a bit different from what we now know as the zipper; however, the basis of the idea was there.  It was a means to pull fabric together, then bind it closed using a pull string. Howe patented his device in 1851; however, he did little to improve it and was forgotten.

Over 40 years later, mechanical engineer Whitcomb Judson expanded on Howe's idea. In 1893 he came forth with what he called the clasp locker. This was a fastener that worked by pulling hooks and eyes simultaneously to automatically hook together. Judson even created a company to develop and market his design. Although he is credited as being the inventor of the zipper and his device did see some use in the garment industry, it did not become popular until the design was improved even more. In 1913, an engineer hired by Judson named Gideon Sundback improved Judson’s original design and created the predecessor to today’s zipper, which was called the hookless fastener and the separable fastener.

The True Zipper Is Born

Sundback’s hookless fastener went through a number of design changes until the device known as the zipper was perfected. The U.S. Army was the first organization to use  this new idea; once this happened, it was only a matter of time before zippers were being used in many different applications. Most notably, they were used for closures on rubber galoshes and then tobacco pouches. The name "zipper" was derived from the sound these metal, toothed closures made when they zipped. The garment industry eventually took notice - and the rest is as they say, history.

Zippers Today

The zipper has become an essential item in garment making and is the standard closure on pants, skirts, jackets, and many other garments. There are many zipper designs made from various materials, including metal, plastic, and nylon, with each type and design being suitable for a variety of uses. Best of all, zippers are easy to use in almost any sewing project. Anyone using Juki sewing machines, or any other sewing machines, can produce professional-looking garments thanks to the zipper.

Some invention ideas are very simple, while others are a little more complicated. The zipper was one such idea that, while the concept itself was fairly simple, required numerous tries and many people to complete its development. Once this mechanical device made its way to the public, the zipper became a product that has greatly influenced the garment and many other industries. With the right zipper, users of Juki sewing machines like the Juki DX 7 can create strong and beautifully designed clothing any day of the week!

Juki HZL-DX7 Computerized Sewing and Quilting Machine

Juki HZL-DX7 Computerized Sewing and Quilting Machine


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